Outside The Box Associate Marilyn Scattoreggio is Co-Creative Director of Inclusive Theater of Western New York. Together with Executive Director Aimée Levesque, Inclusive Theater of WNY will stage three short plays next Fall. This Theme Tray Auction and Talent showcase will help raise the money needed to mount this production. ITOWNY’s mission is to be inclusive of people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and
Instead of Communicating We Talk about How to Communicate.
We Talk About Communication Instead of Communicating
We Talk About Communication Instead of Just Talking
In today’s world, there are tremendous amounts of self-help articles and quick tips about how to interact with our fellow human beings. We Facebook,Tweet, and Instagram our way through everyday life. It seems to me though that we’ve lost the ability to simply interact on the one-to-one basis. We become so based in the virtual world that schools are not even teaching cursive writing anymore. People won’t even know how to sign their name after a while. We see the effect that this is had upon our society. The “Black Lives Matter” movement is a perfect example. The spirit of the movement is solid, but we still see much failure in the area of actual dialogue. Fundamentally, this is because we don’t talk about it in small groups or family units. It is all done through like-minded social groups. There is a great need to be able to discuss difficult subjects among a diverse group of people in local communities. We do not do this. A “sensitivity” training at work will not do the trick. We often speak of bringing “awareness” to a certain subject or issue. My question is, are people really aware after those awareness sessions? Do they really change the way they think? Awareness can really only be achieved through everyday one-on-one experience—bringing up real issues without worrying about political correctness.
When it comes to people with disabilities, we have leadership trainings instead of building leaders. We talk about gainful employment practices and build programs around the idea of employment. We need to have a real dialogue about what’s needed to create equitable environments with regard to the employment of people with disabilities.
Society in general must be invested in our success. The only way to do this is to create the opportunities for interaction on a personal level. Although programs are good, they don’t build relationships. Real relationships are forged between people. The idea of relationship building sounds so robotic to me— like it’s a thing. But it’s not.
Real relationships are ongoing interactions between people. The disability world has to stop thinking of itself as separate and begin talking to people that we can sometimes be uncomfortable with. This is the only way to break new ground. Stop just focusing on programs and start talking.
There is an advantage to talking—it doesn’t cost anything. You don’t have to write a grant, find a building, develop a PowerPoint, convince a public official or find target audiences. The only real cost is-in the uncertainty that comes with opening yourself up to another person.
I challenge you today to start talking again. Start making change by talking with the people around you.